Mediaset to spin off pay-TV

The Board of Italian broadcaster RTI (Mediaset) has approved the transfer of the pay-TV activities to a new company, Mediaset Premium Spa, which will be operational from December 1st.

By December, Spanish operator Telefonica (through its subsidiary Telefónica de Contenidos) will acquire – as announced in July – a 11.1 per cent stake in the new company. The remaining 88.89 per cent will remain for the moment in the hands of RTI which has repeated its readiness to consider the entry of strategic partners to “strengthen the tecnological and international dimension of the new offer”.

Mediaset CFO Marco Giordano told analysts a deal on a new investor in Mediaset Premium Spa is not imminent, adding that the group is in talks with many operators.

Mediaset Premium Spa aims to focus more on the production and distribution of content broadcast on Mediaset’s subscription platforms, as well as to further enhance the recent investments for the acquisition of exclusive sports rights. The business plan provides for a general increase in quality of the Premium product that will rely on new distribution platforms and be offered to new customers with innovative value-added services.

The shareholders’ meeting is convened for November 26th to elect a new Board of Directors. As CEO of Mediaset Premium Spa has been appointed Franco Ricci, former head of the pay-TV assets of Mediaset, to whom will report the Director of Content Yves Confalonieri; Commercial Director Marco Rosini; CTO Eugenio Pettazzi and CIO Domenico Alessio.

According to Mediaset’s nine month results published earlier this week, Mediaset Premium revenues (sales of subscriptions and pre-paid cards) amounted to €402.5 million, compared with the €410.3 million of the first nine months of 2013.

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